Preparing your home

House in a snowstorm in Landenberg,Chester County, Pennsylvania with visible snowflakes

Now that the holidays are past, we see people leaving our cold Iowa and Minnesota winter weather for a warmer location. Depending on the length of time you plan to be gone, there are some steps you should take to prepare your home.

There are some things that we do every time we leave home for a vacation. Stopping the mail and newspaper delivery is common. Putting one or two lights in you home on a timer to give the appearance that someone is home. Asking your neighbor to park a car in your drive occasionally while you are gone. These efforts are pretty common. If you plan to be gone for an extended time, there are other things you might want to consider.

Lowering the thermostat can save you money; it isn’t necessary to keep an empty home toasty warm. Just be sure that the temperature inside your home is high enough to prevent frozen pipes during an extended period of really cold weather. Unplugging small appliances, think toaster or computer, can help conserve electricity and prevent fire. Shutting off the water, or draining the water heater can prevent problems if pipes do freeze.

There are a few steps you may not consider but are worth doing. Often credit card companies try to protect us if there are a number of charges not typical for your account. Notify your credit card company before you leave town. Check your smoke detectors; it could help stop a fire from getting out of control in your absence. Of course, you will want to leave contact information and a key with a trusted neighbor. You may want to arrange snow removal in your absence; some towns have fines if the sidewalks are not cleared within 24 hours of a snowstorm. Cleaning out the refrigerator and discarding food that will spoil in your absence will make life easier when you return. Remember to take out the trash. Cleaning out the garbage disposal with some lemon can also eliminate odor while you are gone.

Enjoy your travels, knowing that you have taken steps to ensure your home will be safe while you are gone.

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

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